The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.
ITEM NUMBER ONE – This is important
Background first, because facts are important. Bluey is a sweet little Australian children’s cartoon about a sweet little blue puppy named Bluey who lives with her family. Bluey has a dad named Bandit and a mom named Chilli and a younger sister named Bingo who goes on little adventures with her. It’s an adorable piece of business and the show has made its way to America via Disney Plus and has become a mini-phenomenon among children and parents who flip it on and escape to a happier place for a few minutes here and there. It’s nice.
There is now controversy.
The short version goes something like this: When the most recent season made its way across the Pacific to America, it was missing an episode titled “Family Meeting.” Which is strange. Why would an episode of a show for children be nixed like this? What kind of troubling message did it send to young and impressionable minds? Is this another case of overzealous parents banging pots and pans together over some hot-button cultural issue?
The Family Meeting episode from series three of the hit children’s show features a faux trial with mum Chilli as the judge to determine whether Bandit did “fluffy” or “make a brownie” on Bluey’s face.
The episode opens with the six-year-old blue heeler pup saying “Dad blew off right in my face” and Bandit denying it. Later he admits: “Her face is at bum level – it’s hard not to.”
First of all… hilarious. Good. I love it. I am a fully-grown adult man and now I want to watch the fart trial. Make a whole spinoff about fart lawyers. Make two. See what I care.
Anyway, this gets even better. A Disney fansite called Pirates and Princesses realized that the episode was missing and reached out to Disney about it and got an actual comment on the whole thing. I encourage you to read the whole post to grasp the history at play here, but this is the comment an official Disney person passed along.
“Family Meeting” will roll out on U.S. platforms soon. Some of the “Bluey” content did not meet Disney Junior broadcast S&P in place at the time the series was acquired. Now that it is rolling out on other platforms, it is a great opportunity to reevaluate which is what we plan to do.
I do not think I can explain to you — with words only, at least — how delightful I find all of this. You should see my face as I’m typing this. I am beaming. Every moving part of it is a little better than the last. An Australian show for toddlers made an episode about a fart trial and it set in motion a series of events that included:
- Someone in a suit at Disney deciding that a fart trial did not meet the high standards of their streaming platform
- A fansite going Woodward and Bernstein on it to get answers about the fart trial
- What I have to assume was an entire series of meetings at Disney involving more people in suits about how to handle the public outcry over the episode about one dog farting on another and going to trial for it
- A team of publicists sitting down to craft a statement to give to the fansite about the fart episode, which will now be released online after all
- Me getting to see all of this happen and writing about it
Just a perfect little news story from beginning to end, complete with a happy resolution. If Bluey was smart and/or devious about all of this, they’d make a second episode about the fart fiasco. Get meta as hell about it. Give me a full-length documentary about it all. Interview everyone involved. I would pay good money for a two-hour movie where a series of embarrassed executives attempt to use a slew of fancy business language to dance around the thing where they censored and then uncensored an episode of television about a flatulent cartoon canine.
This is the good stuff, people. Savor this one.
ITEM NUMBER TWO – Meanwhile, on the set of Fast X…
The good news here is that Fast X is now filming. Jason Momoa is there in full peacock mode, which is something that should not have taken this long to unlock. He should have been in these movies years ago. I’m glad we are rectifying it now, I guess, in a Better Late Than Never situation, but someone should be fired or at least be put on unpaid leave for making us wait this long. Everyone was too focused on giving Charlize Theron braids and bowl cuts. I get it. But still.
There’s a big article over at the Los Angeles Times about the filming, and about some collateral damage for the real people who live near Dominic Toretto’s fictional house. I must insist that you read it. It’s a fascinating sociological document. Here, look.
Ever since it premiered in 2001, “Fast and the Furious” fans have made a beeline to Angelino Heights to gawk at Bob’s Market, the store owned by the family of the film’s Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the character’s quaint Victorian house.
But unlike the nearby house where The WB series “Charmed” was shot, Bob’s Market and Dominic’s house have become a destination for more than just snapping selfies. Nearly every night, car enthusiasts spin out doing donuts at high speeds in front of the store in addition to racing and doing street takeovers throughout the area just west of Downtown.
Two conflicting thoughts here: One, it sounds like hell for the people who live in this neighborhood and I really do feel bad for them; two, it is incredibly funny to me that street racers are making pilgrimages to the Toretto house to race their cars in tribute to Vin Diesel the way Catholics travel to the Vatican.
I will be thinking about this a lot.
Hellen Kim and Robert Howard, a married couple that live close by Bob’s Market, say that the open area in front of the store draws street racers who practice donuts and ramp up their engines, creating noise and smoke. Although the city erected some bollards in the area, many of the drivers simply moved to a nearby street or continue to drive around the barriers. And when they do so, because some of the cars don’t have mufflers, the noise tends to be extremely disruptive, with screeching tires throughout the night.
If I understand the world of the Fast & Furious movies correctly, and I think I do at this point, then there is only one way to put an end to this street-racing nonsense: They must identify the leader and challenge him to a quarter-mile race right in front of the house and whoever loses can’t show their face in California ever again.
Rules are rules.
ITEM NUMBER THREE – There should be more shows about pizza
This is the trailer for the next season of Chef’s Table on Netflix, which is about pizza. You probably guessed that from the big picture of a pizza that’s right up there in that YouTube link. Maybe not. Either way, it’s true. There are so many more shots of pizza once you hit play. And, one presumes, even more shots of pizza in the series itself. This is good. Pizza is good. The trailer made me very hungry when I first saw it earlier this week and it’s making me hungry again now. If I don’t get pizza in the next 48 hours I might end up on the news. Not in a good way. In the Pizza-Crazed Local Man Arrested After Blocking Traffic On The Highway For Six Hours way. You know what I mean.
Entertainment Weekly has a bunch of details on the whole thing, from the pizza chefs that will be featured to, well, this quote, which is from an executive producer who seems like he enjoys his job a lot. Good for him.
“The idea of being able to go deep into pizza and to explore all these amazing people that have made pizza their lives, it’s almost like exploring how our lives could have turned out in a dream scenario where we were making pizza every day,” exec producer Brian McGinn says. “That’s no. 1. No. 2 is: pizza is sort of the ultimate canvas. You roll out some dough and then whatever you put on top and how you make it, that can be a perfect way of expressing who you are. And in a lot of ways, that’s what Chef’s Table is about — people finding their voices, finding a way to express themselves, to express their cultures. It was exciting for us to take this seemingly simple food item that we eat all the time that everyone loves and to really go deeper into it and to get into the emotion of it and what it means to amazing artisans all over the world.”
A few things jump out at me here. The first is that I am suddenly furious at all of my high school and college advisors who did not inform me that “famous pizza artisan” would be a viable career option in the future. The second is that there should be a whole cable channel dedicated to pizza.
Think about this. We have so many channels, some of them almost comically specific. There are channels dedicated to tennis and golf. There can be a pizza channel. People cooking pizza, people going to famous pizza restaurants to watch other people make pizza, documentaries about the history of pizza, pizza cookoff reality shows, all of it. Hell, make sitcoms and crappy movies about pizza, too. Think like a Syfy or Lifetime original but it’s about a pizza chef who falls in love and/or has to go on a rampage to protect his family’s secret pizza recipe. John Wick but with pizza instead of dogs and the budget is like $600,000 total. I would watch it tonight.
I lied earlier. About the 48 hours thing. It’s 24, tops. More shows about pizza, please, at the very least. Writing these last few paragraphs did not help.
ITEM NUMBER FOUR – Let’s check in with 9-1-1, one of our finest television programs
— 9-1-1 on FOX (@911onFOX) August 9, 2022
- 9-1-1 returns this fall, once again, somehow still doing everything all at once in the biggest and most preposterous way possible in defiance of physics and logic and good sense
- I’ve let the past couple of seasons get away from me but I respect everyone involved so much for continuing to do this at a high level
- What we have here appears to be a flaming blimp crash-landing into a packed soccer stadium
- They are using this as the main image to promote an entire season of television
- I hope this show runs for 1000 years and they keep coming up with fully deranged ways to put people in peril
I am so proud of everyone here.
ITEM NUMBER FIVE – Someone please send Cher some confetti
SOMEONE SEND ME CONFETTI 🙏🏼
— Cher (@cher) August 21, 2022
YES, YOU READING THIS
SEND CHER SOME CONFETTI
JUST DO IT
THINK ABOUT EVERYTHING CHER HAS DONE FOR YOU
SEND CHER CONFETTI
ITEM NUMBER SIX – Oh, look, a movie for Brian
I did this thing maybe a year ago where I started reading the books in the Fletch series by Gregory McDonald and I kind of have not stopped since. I’ve read almost all of them, I think. I’ve doubled back and re-read a few already. They’re great, sarcastic and fun and fast and twisty and pretty much exactly what I’m looking for in a book, especially over the summer. All of which is to say that I am kind of excited about this movie, Confess, Fletch, which is based on probably my favorite of the Fletch books.
It doesn’t hurt that Jon Hamm is playing Fletch and John Slattery is in the trailer talking to him and I kind of shouted “MAD MEN REUNION” at no one even though I already knew both of them were going to be in this. I get excited. Here’s the official description.
In this delightful comedy romp, Jon Hamm stars as the roguishly charming and endlessly troublesome Fletch, who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case while searching for a stolen art collection. The only way to prove his innocence? Find out which of the long list of suspects is the culprit – from the eccentric art dealer and a missing playboy to a crazy neighbor and Fletch’s Italian girlfriend. Crime, in fact, has never been this disorganized.
Jon Hamm is a teeny bit on the older side to play Fletch and some of the jokes in this trailer don’t land squarely on two feet and I do not care at all. I’m going to see this movie. You can come if you want. Be ready for me to talk your ear off about other actors I think could play Fletch and how much respect I have for Jon Hamm for cashing his Mad Men checks and proceeding to do just the silliest stuff he can think of with his new financial security. And for me to reach over and grab your popcorn during the movie. Yes, I know I said I didn’t want any before the movie started. And that I said I don’t really like popcorn at all. I wasn’t lying either time. But now I want some. You’re not going to eat all of it anyway.
If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.
I speed-scrolled through your Better Call Saul Universe article looking for your take on the most obvious spin-off of all, only to find it sorely lacking and somehow not mentioned in the comments.
After giving you the chance to correct your oversight in the Rundown and taking the weekend to calm down, I am compelled to write.
Condor: The Rise of Gustavo Fring, filling in his mysterious Chilean years as an operative for Pinochet’s secret police, done in the style of a straight action thriller – basically The Terminal List, only with a young Gus played like he was Affleck in The Accountant. There’s no shortage of options to play up the palace intrigue and CIA conspiracies, just imagine:
– A botched assassination shoot-out at a spice market that inspires his signature blend
– A cat and mouse game with a shady operative from a corrupt German conglomerate looking to exploit Chile’s natural resources
– An assignment to take out a vocal dissident and talented chemist named Max, leading him to question loyalties
Will he cross paths with a young Don Eladio and the Salamanca crew? Who’s to say? (You are, and the answer is yes.)
I feel like between you and your readers, we could churn out enough material for an eight episode treatment on spec in about the time it takes to spit-roast a chicken
This email, in response to this thing I wrote last week about potential additional spinoffs we could do now that Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad are both over, is tremendous. I have nothing to add beyond pointing out that it is correct on most fronts — including the thing where I whiffed on this one — and that I am glad Ryan sent it in. Good. Great. Everyone be more like Ryan going forward. Except for Ryan. Ryan can stay the same. For now. We will continue to assess this situation as the year goes on. Thank you.
AND NOW, THE NEWS
It is among the most famous photographic images of a statesman. Winston Churchill, the British prime minister, glowers, hand on hip. For decades, an original signed print of the image has hung on a wall in a landmark hotel in Ottawa.
Oh boy. Oh boy. It feels like we are setting up something here. A heist? Is it a heist?! Did someone heist the picture of Winston Churchill? Is that what’s going on here? FREAKIN SPILL IT.
But on Friday, an employee noticed that something was off with the photograph, shot by the renowned portraitist Yousuf Karsh.
The frame was askew. It did not match the others on the wall.
Feeling kinda heisty here. Like something is up. Like maybe “Sinnerman” is starting to play in the background a little bit. Quietly. Building.
When the hotel, the Fairmont Château Laurier, called Jerry Fielder, the director of Mr. Karsh’s estate, he thought there was “no chance” that the picture could have been replaced by a copy.
So… no heist?
Oh man, this is such a letdown. I thought we had something going here. Oh well, I guess th-
Then they sent him a close-up picture of what was supposed to be Mr. Karsh’s signature. “I was stunned,” Mr. Fielder said, noting that it had been forged. “This was a heist.”
Quick recap here:
- Someone swapped out the real photo with a forgery and made off with the original
- This is kind of like a reverse Thomas Crown Affair situation
- The man straight-up said “this was a heist”
It is all very thrilling to me.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Fairmont hotel said that it had informed the local authorities of the picture’s disappearance, and, as a precautionary measure, had removed other photographs that were hanging in the reading lounge of the building.
Is it weird that my first thought when I read the end of that sentence was “THAT’S PROBABLY WHAT THEY WANTED YOU TO DO, YOU FOOLS”?
Maybe it’s weird.
Or maybe it’s all part of their master plan.
I will continue to monitor this situation going forward.